• Jan 13th 2010 at 10:04AM
  • 22
Tesla's press conference at the Detroit Auto Show yesterday was refreshingly short and consisted of nothing more than CEO Elon Musk talking in front of the red Model S. He said that his company has now built 1,000 Roadsters (a year ago, it was just 150), negotiated a lease for the Model S plant (but he wouldn't say where it was) and that the 1,000th Roadster will be auctioned off for charity. Musk then took questions, but didn't exactly answer them.

Musk told the journalists that Roadster sales are doing "pretty well," adding that he hopes annual sales come in at around 700 to 1,000 a year. Once the Model S hits the market for around $50,000, Tesla hopes to sell 20,000 per year. The third Tesla model that's still a few years away? That $30,000 car should sell 200,000 a year, Musk said.

Even though $50,000 for the Model S sounds like a lot, Musk said that, if gas is $4.50 a gallon, then the difference in running costs between his electric sedan and a standard ICE vehicle mean the Model S can be thought of as a $35,000 car. The Model S is still at least two years away, and more likely two-and-a-half years, Musk said. Daimler has been a "benign and benevolent" partner thus far, and Tesla's main benefit right now is that they can use the Daimler supply chain and get advice to make sure they aren't making any mistakes as the Model S moves to production. Today, there are two running prototypes, but Tesla hopes to have around 20 by the end of the year.


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PRESS RELEASE

Tesla Celebrates 1,000th Roadster

Electric automaker displays VIN 1,000 at North American International Auto Show, will donate full value to charities

DETROIT -- (BUSINESS WIRE) - Tesla Motors has built its 1,000th production vehicle -- a significant milestone for the only automaker worldwide producing and selling highway-capable electric cars.

The car, which bears the unique Vehicle Identification No. 1,000, is a special-edition Roadster Sport in "Millennial White," with a unique interior and carbon fiber accents. VIN 1,000 will be on display at the North American International Auto Show through Jan. 24.

The world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer will donate the $175,000 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of this collector's car to several charities in metro Detroit.

"A year ago right here in Detroit we had delivered about 150 Roadsters, so VIN 1,000 is a humble but important milestone for us," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "It's fitting to do something special with this unique car."

Tesla will donate the full value of the car to organizations including:

· Forgotten Harvest: Oak Park, Mich.-based charity focused on alleviating hunger and waste by rescuing food from more than 450 food industry donors.

· The Children's Center: Detroit-based coalition of civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and families.

· FOCUS: Hope: Detroit-based community organization focused on food and health programs to single low-income mothers and children, civic revitalization, and back-to-work education projects such as a "green jobs" training program.

· Sierra Club: The nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental group with over 1.3 million members and supporters, winning big victories to stop global warming and move America into a clean energy future.

· National Wildlife Federation: America's largest conservation organization with more than 4 million members, partners and supporters working to protect and restore wildlife habitat, confront global warming and connect with nature.

Tesla, a Silicon Valley-based automaker that began vehicle development in 2004, has delivered Roadsters to customers in 43 states and 19 countries. The company operates 10 retail outlets in the United States and Europe.

Roadster Road Trip Car and Model S on Display

The Tesla booth at the Detroit auto show also features "VIN 750," an Arctic White Roadster Sport that recently completed a 2,700-mile cross-country road trip to Detroit from Los Angeles. Tesla employees drove 750 through nine states, three time zones, and two snowstorms – without a drop of gasoline.

The acclaimed Roadster accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 and is twice as energy efficient as leading hybrids. It is the only highway-capable electric vehicle for sale in North America or Europe.

The 2010 North American International Auto Show also marks the Detroit debut of the Model S. The Model S is an electric, seven-passenger sedan that Tesla plans to begin producing in early 2012 with an anticipated base price of $49,900 after a US federal tax credit.

About Tesla

Tesla is the world's only automaker selling highway-capable electric vehicles. Tesla sells cars online and operates showrooms and galleries in London, Munich, Monaco, California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, Colorado, New York, Seattle, Chicago and South Florida. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs.

The electric Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds yet produces zero tailpipe emissions, qualifying it for tax credits and fee waivers throughout Europe and North America. The Roadster does not need regular oil changes or exhaust system work. Roadsters have no spark plugs, pistons, hoses, belts or clutches to replace. Tesla recommends a standard service and diagnostic inspection once a year – and Tesla can perform service with convenient "house calls" at customers' homes or offices
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Tesla took 19 days to drive to Detroit ,they forgot to say in the press release!


      "Tesla booth at the Detroit auto show also features "VIN 750," an Arctic White Roadster Sport that recently completed a 2,700-mile cross-country road trip to Detroit from Los Angeles. Tesla employees drove 750 through nine states, three time zones, and two snowstorms – without a drop of gasoline."


      Who has that much time to be off work on a vacation to wait while your car charges?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Consider also that in 3-5 years we'll be seeing huge jumps in the capacity of the battery packs, perhaps up to as much as 10X. Everything from improved internal ion transport to nanoparticle electrodes to improved chemistry, all coming to the fore at once. A 2,000 mile range is not out of the question.

      For those interested in where the power is going to come from, I hope it will be here:
      focusfusion.org . Priced at about 1/20 of what you're used to paying.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want it NOW! (btw. Musk could be bluffing to put competition at ease)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly, not that surprising that the Model S is still over two years away considering that plans Tesla had for the plant fell though, and the lack of news of course.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And in this he points out quite siccinctly why a $40,000 volt - $7,500 government cash will be a big seller.

      If you use electrical energy 80% of the time (which seems reasonable to me with a 40 mile range) you're "fuel" suddenly drops to about 6% of your total cost of ownership over 5 years. Compared to gasoline which sits at about 20-30% of your TCO for a low end vehicle, you can see where the savings are.*


      *75% of percentages in this post are made up on the spot.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would sell my mother-in-law for a Tesla Model S. Well, frankly, I'd sell her for just about anything....but it would be GREAT if I could get an "S" for her.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even two and a half years from now, the Model S should still be WAY ahead of the competition. It sounds like the Chevy Volt is even almost two years away from being "widely" available in the US market. (I realize these vehicles are not direct competitors.) The Nissan Leaf and Focus Electric are most likely still one and a half years away from useful availability.

      As for selling 200,000 units a year of Tesla's $30,000 vehicle, IMHO sounds like wishful thinking for at least the first few years, but I wish them the best!

      That Model S looks great in red.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No it doesn't, considering Microsoft commands what percentage of the market? There are a hell of a lot more Americans that can't afford a $50,000 automobile versus a $30,000 one. Comparing that to a few hundred dollars difference in an OS battle is a joke.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Nissan Leaf will not suffer from that much of a penalty from the cold. Your pulling numbers from your butt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Oh4Sh0
        Your logic is of Microsoft vs. Apple nature. And does not make any sense whatsoever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let's be realistic. The Model S is at least two years away from production. Upon it's release, it'll be able to debut in what - 3 states, and will have only a handful of dealers. When the Model S actually does debut, it really won't be a comparison to the Volt when you consider costs. The $50,000 price tag is after a $7,500 rebate, and we'll guess that Volt's after $7,500 rebate is $32,500. That puts these cars quite leagues apart.

        GM has the dealership network and the advertising/marketing strength to roll these cars off lots.

        The Leaf has a "rumored" 100-mile range, and will suffer from the same issues we've seen with other BEVs in cold climates that might cut that range to around 50 miles total.

        I don't think full battery cars can be sold in cold climates until the tech advances a bit further. But if GM's volt can't sell, I don't think any other automakers will really see success on a nationwide scale.
      • 5 Years Ago
      2 years from now the LEAF and others will be out. Tesla is gonna miss the boat.

        • 7 Months Ago
        comparing a Model S to a Leaf or Volt is no different than comparing an Aston or Jag to an Altima or Malibu... totally different people they're marketed to...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This company has odne a nice job of turning out a specialist premium car.
      They have around zero chance of leveraging up to any form of mainstream production, I would have thought.
      Lots have tried, but they tend to find out that mas car producers tend to be pretty good at, well, mass car production.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Absolutely correct. It's funny how these guys talk about some new paradigm while completely forgetting that an electric car is still 90% "car". Tesla did however, at some point, bring in some *real* car company people (as opposed to car geeks) after their first wave of delays, and they should be credited for finally wising up. But a bigger problem than limited production capability may be no new orders. IIRC, they said they had 1500 Teslas sold at about the beginning of 2009, and the same number near the end of 2009. If they are not getting new orders, that's very worrisome, since that means no income after they burn off their backlog later this year. It also doesn't appear that the S will fill that void in time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Model S really is a beautiful car; they really nailed the design with it. It's very sporty for a sedan. It is similar to some Jags and Astons that sell for much more than $50k. It also has some of its own distinctive styling cues. It's a very clean, handsome car. $50k is more than I've ever thought about realistically spending on a car but this one makes me want to splurge.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I think it evokes that attitude in a lot of us...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh4Sh0;
      The Model S will carry/lease/run for about the same as a $33K ICE car, and that number will drop as oil cost rises and power cost falls. And the car quality is such that the choice is a no-brainer: MODEL S!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah yes, those battery powered vehicles are the future at a cost of $50,000 and always 2 years away.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Ghen

        I guess if you consider jacking up the price on a car AFTER a customer has made a commitment to buy "already made good on the original promise"...

        "It turns out that customers who already locked in orders recently have been unlocked and asked to reselect options. Some of the previously selected options are now higher priced and other previously standard features are now extra cost options. Among those are the wheels that we've seen on every Roadster up until now. They have been replaced by a new, presumably less expensive design with the original design now fetching an extra $3,000. Audio system upgrades are now also more expensive. Perhaps most annoying is that the cable that allows the car to be plugged into the high power home charger for a three-hour charge has become a pricey add-on. Until now, these have been included in the cars. Drivers who want three-hour charges going forward will have to fork over an extra $3,000 to get this hefty extension cord."

        http://green.autoblog.com/2009/01/17/prospective-tesla-owners-not-happy-about-price-increases-on-lock/

        I like Tesla, and I wish them success. But they need to treat their paying customers a little better...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the fact that they already made good on the original promise with the roadster I give them the benefit of the doubt when they talk about the S.
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